It’s hard to believe that legalization was just a few months ago. And, while the rollout of cannabis legalization in Canada has been nothing short of a rocky, there are a bunch of exciting developments on the horizon.
The future of cannabis in Canada is looking bright. Here are 7 key cannabis moments that we’re looking forward to in 2019.
The “Second Wave” of Legalization
Amendments to The Cannabis Act will allow edibles, extracts, and topicals to enter the market by the first anniversary of legalization in Canada.
The first draft of regulations has already been released and outline restrictions on infused foods, beverages, and edible extracts as well as inhalable extracts, THC concentrates and topical.
Proposed regulations would impose limits on the THC content and additives in edibles and extracts as well as exact standards for labelling, packaging, and marketing.
More Cannabis in Canada
In an interview with the Canadian Press in December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his disappointment with the cannabis shortages that have persisted throughout the country since legalization.
The lack of legal supply has forced cannabis stores to operate only Thursday to Sunday in Quebec, paused the licensing of new retail stores in Alberta, and caused Ontario to phase-in its plans for private retail.
During the interview, Trudeau predicted the problem would be resolved “during the coming months and perhaps the coming year,” though he did not indicate how.
Retail Stores in Ontario
Since legalization came into effect in October, Ontario residents have had to rely on online ordering through the provincially-run store, but brick and mortar stores are finally set to open in 2019!
While the province previously announced it would not limit the number of private retail stores, only 25 licenses will be allocated by April. Applications will be made available online through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) from January 7 to January 9, 2019 and distributed via lottery.
Pardons for Minor Cannabis-Related Offenses
In October, The Liberal government alongside Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said they would waive fees and expedite processing pardons for people with minor cannabis-related criminal records.
Despite being a major step forward, advocates are pushing for expungement, which goes one step further in destroying all known government records of the “offense.”
Annamaria Enenajor is the director of Cannabis Amnesty, a not-for-profit that is fighting for a solution for those who have criminal records for cannabis possession. In a recent interview with The Global and Mail, Enenajor explained that Indigenous, black or other racialized people have been the ones who have suffered the consequences and she’s calling on the government to “delete” the records.
Research and invaluable innovations could soon help alleviate health care provider’s reluctance to recommend cannabis products for therapeutic uses.
Scientus Pharma, for one, has patented their own way to extract the plant. The company, until now has been focused exclusively on research and testing—developing a decarboxylation process to ensure THC and CBD is 99% activated— but oils and capsules are expected to launch in 2019 and aims to take the guesswork out of dosing.
CBD Use Accelerating
Cannabidiol (CBD)—touted for its health and wellness benefits, most commonly used for anxiety, insomnia, pain, and nausea—is gaining serious recognition.
The 2018 Farm Bill, which contains a section that legalizes hemp production, was passed by US Congress in December and could ignite a CBD-rich hemp boom. Already we’ve seen Canadian companies like Canopy Growth announce their intentions to buy Colorado-based hemp research leader Ebbu. And we expect to see the use of CBD accelerating at a rapid pace globally.
More US-Based Companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange
According to Forbes, it can often be difficult for US-based cannabis companies to access traditional capital. So in 2019, we should expect to see more and more US cannabis companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges as companies seek to garner funding investments.